The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has some good news for residents of the southern parts of Luzon: The agency has formally signed its intent to purchase additional trains for the Philippine National Railways (PNR) route heading south.
In total, 21 new trains are expected to be delivered by CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive come 2021. The DOTr says these trains—which are standard-gauge Diesel Multiple Units (DMU)—will be added to the PNR South Long Haul Project, also referred to as the PNR Bicol, which will initially ply the route from Calamba, Laguna, to Naga City before eventually extending all the way to Legazpi City, Albay.
“Today, we are gathered here, in order to put the first stepping stone to realizing that dream of putting connectivity between Manila and Bicol,” DOTr head Arthur Tugade said during the contract-signing ceremony. “That dream which, many years back, was the glorious days of railroads story—where we can travel from Bicol to Manila, using the railways and the trains.”
Tugade also highlighted that part of the government’s initiative to bring the rail line back to its former glory involves increasing the number of stations from 17 to 35 and improving its tracks.
PNR general manager Junn Magno shared Tugade’s sentiments, saying the move will transform the PNR, and going so far as to claim the project will cut travel time from Manila to Bicol by 80%.
“This is a very momentous occasion for us because this is where we will start the railway service and transform the Philippine National Railways,” he said. “This train will represent the first trip for the South Long Haul Project or what we call the PNR Bicol, and it would cut down significantly 80% of the travel time between Manila and Bicol region.”
If everything goes according to the DOTr’s plan, we can expect long trips down south to be a lot more convenient.